Flyers Continue Winning Ways – by C. Scott Holland

The scoresheet said it all and by looking at the boxscore of Leamington’s Oct. 5th  contest vs the St.Thomas Stars one can see just how rounded this year’s edition of the Flyers are. Of the seven Leamington goals, five players accounted for the tallies and of the nine assists awarded there were another seven different players’ names.

On the other hand, the St. Thomas Stars suffered another loss at the Highbury Canco rink – this one a 7-3 licking making them 1 for 13 in the last five-plus seasons.

The Stars rookie players fared well adapting to the Olympic-sized ice surface in the first period and trailed 2-1 heading into the middle frame. But the Flyers simply took control in the second, often hemming the Stars in their end zone and just hammering the puck toward the net. St. Thomas starter Kodie Oude-Vashaar got rocked for five goals over the first half of the contest; Anthony Hurtubise replaced him at 11:21 of the second and only permitted two goals but the damage had been done by that juncture.

Flyers’ rookie Rory DiNiro opened the scoring with his first tally of the campaign as he rocketed a right lane blast that bounced off Oude-Vashaar’s stick and into the net at 3:27 while on a powerplay drive. The Stars countered with a special teams marker of their at 15:28 when Adam Keyes long shot from just inside the blueline skipped past Leamington netminder Connor Meyerink.  Cody Schneider put the Flyers ahead at 18:00 while shorthanded. He stole the puck and went up the middle on a breakaway before depositing the puck into the upper corner. That tally was certainly an NHL-like play but was only the beginning of the Flyers’ offensive attack.

In the second, the Flyers upped the lead to 3-1 when Dalton Langlois and Jaydon Fetter teamed up to lay the groundwork for Preston Corp’s hot powerplay drive at 2:41. Following that Griffin Robinson who has been on a torrid scoring streak lately tabbed one of the most unique goals seen in recent years as he batted a puck out of the air and sent a blooper over the goalie’s glove. That made the score 4-1 for the home team. Oude-Vashaar’s night ended at 11:21 of the second when Josh Pope-Ferguson came down the right lane and drilled a puck underneath him that found the back of the cage. For a good majority of the second, St. Thomas’ grittiness and digging for loose pucks seemed to have waned. Head coach Darren Kelly wisely used his time out and tried to regroup his team but it was to nonavail for the remainder of the second frame.

In the third the Stars came out with an extra effort and thanks to a wicked blast by Kevin Hu got back in the game at 1:57. Leamington re-asserted its lead at 7:06 when Bryce O’Brien and Kade McKibbon hooked passes with Jake Nimmo whose liner sailed past Hurtubise. Midway through the frame Mason Millman halved the scored for St. Thomas, but that was as close as they would get. Robinson unleashed a cannon-like shot that found the target at 12:00 and completed the scoring to give the Flyers a 7-3 edge which held up until the final horn sounded.

Both teams displayed some good hustle in the opening frame with plenty of digging for the puck and the play going back and forth. While both teams were 50 percent on the powerplay (two for four), Leamington did cash in a shorthanded marker. Final shots were 37 for Leamington and 24 for St. Thomas.

NOTES:  Leamington had the luxury of having three players out of the lineup – Kenny Styles, Maddux Rychel and Stephane Crevier; St. Thomas had only one scratch – Thomas McLatchie …A crowd of 610 was on hand and several guests were on hand. Former Flyers (and Chatham) Jr. B coach Verrn Stenlund was out watching the Stars young defenseman Jake Rendell. West convenor and interim GOJHL commissioner Mark Tuck was on hand ..Up next for the Flyers is a home and home contest with the Strathroy Rockets and a Wednesday night visit to play the LaSalle Vipers. On behalf of the Flyers, the Stars and the entire GOJHL we wish everyone a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving weekend  – family, friends, hockey and most of all remember to give thanks for everything we have and love.

Scott Holland is an accomplished author, a former Western Jr. B Hockey League statistician and is recognized as the West Conference’s and GOJHL’s historian. A lifelong resident of Leamington Scott was a journalist for the now defunct Leamington Post for 26 years and writes occasional articles for the Southpoint Sun and the Strathroy Age Dispatch. Among the books he has authored are:  75 Years: A History of the Leamington and Erie Shores Golf Course; A Century In The Making – History of Heinz Canada 1909-2009; Leamington Flyers 1992/93-2011/12 Platinum Anniversary Special Program; the Western Jr. B Record Book 2003/04 and 2005/05 editions; as well as updates of both the West, Mid-West and Golden Horseshoe Conference and GOJHL Record Books and Playoff Record Books  He has been a member of he Leamington Jr. Flyers hockey club for the last 28 years and has served many years as a board member, statistician, in the press box as an announcer, and scorekeeper among other duties. He has been named the West Conference Volunteer of Year and a Windsor-Essex Sportsperson of Year award. He resides in Leamington. 

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